Africans Discuss Why No Leader Won $5m Governance Prize

Wednesday, 16 October, 2013

Following up on our tweet yesterday afternoon, this blog piece from Al-Jazeera is an interesting trawl through Twitter in search of African responses to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation's decision not to award this years USD5m prize for good governance. 

For example, @TomEaton asks the cynic's (very good) question: "Mo Ibrahim, mo' problems. Why would any African leader want to win $5m by governing well when they could make $500m by governing badly?"  There's a lot of elaboration on that theme and it's a question that begs an answer at the moment, especially with the more high-profile current news regarding the withdrawal of African leaders from other international bodies designed to protect good (read: non-genocidal) governance.

The question is also widely asked whether the criteria for eligibility for the prize should be widened beyond "former Executive Heads of State or Government". Honouring African leadership would certainly be easier if the field weren't restricted to the political classes; but then the example comes from the top and perhaps the indictment of this group is in fact the point of the prize?  

After all, if - as Kenya's John Ngirachu points out - the real story would actually be when somebody wins it, it may well be a miserable state of affairs but it's one that begs resolution. And few high profile voices are prepared to say as much. The Foundation should be applauded.